Rico and Stineli.
Chapter VIII. On the Lake of Sils.
 

Stineli did not recover herself during the entire week, her joy was so great; but it seemed as if that week were ten days longer than any other, for Sunday seemed never to come.

At last it did come, and a golden sun shone over the harvest fields, and she and Rico went up under the fir-trees, where the sparkling lake lay spread out at their feet; and the girl's heart was so overflowing with happiness, that she had to dance about and shout aloud before she seated herself on the moss, on the very edge of the slope. There she could see every thing round about,--the sunny heights and the lake, and, stretched over all, the blue heavens.

Suddenly she called out, "Come now, Rico; we will sing,--sing for ever so long."

So the lad seated himself by Stineli's side, and placed his fiddle in position,--for he had, of course, brought that too,--and began to play, and the children sang,--

  "Little lambkins, come down
  From the bright, sunny height,"

until they had sung all the verses; but Stineli had not had half enough.

"We will sing more," she said, and went on,--

  "Little lambkins, above
  On the bright, pleasant hill,
  The sunlight is sparkling,
  The winds are not still."

And then Rico sang the verse and was pleased and said, "Sing some more."

Stineli was quite excited: thought a bit, and looked up, then down, and sang again,--

  "And the lambkins, and the lambkins,
  And the heavens so blue;
  And red and white flowers,
  And the green grasses, too."

Then Rico fiddled and sung the verse with her, and said again, "Some more."

Stineli laughed, and, glancing at Rico, sang,--

  "And a sad little boy,
    And a very gay maid;
  And a lake like another,
    That from water is made."

Laughing and singing, Stineli went on,--

  "And the lambkins, and the lambkins,
    They jumped up so high,
  And all were most merry,
    And did not know why.

  "And a boy and a girl
    By the lake-side did sit,
  And because they forgot it,
    It hurt not a bit."

Now they began at the very beginning, and sang the whole thing through again, and made merry over it, and were so happy that they sang it at least ten times over; and the more they repeated it, the better it sounded to their ears.

After this Rico played several tunes that he had learned from his father; but they soon came back to their own song, and began that again.

In the midst of it the girl stopped and said, "It has just come into my head how you can go down to the other lake, and will not need any money either."

Rico paused suddenly and gazed at his companion, awaiting what was coming next.

"Don't you see," she said earnestly, "now you have a fiddle, and you know a song. You can go and play your song, and sing before the taverns; then the people will give you something to eat and to drink, and let you sleep there, for they will see that you are not a beggar. So you can go on until you reach the lake; and, coming home, you can do the same thing again."

Rico reflected over these words, but Stineli would give him no time for dreaming: she wanted to go on with the song.

They made so much noise themselves, that they did not hear the prayer-bell at all; and did not notice what time it was until reminded by the growing darkness, and perceived the grandmother looking about anxiously for them before they reached the houses.

But Stineli was too much excited to be subdued by any thing. She ran on towards her grandmother, and said, "You have no idea how beautifully Rico can fiddle; and we have made a song of our own, for ourselves only. We will sing it to you this very moment."

And before there was time to answer, they began and sang it all through; and the good grandmother listened with real pleasure to their sweet, clear voices.

She seated herself on the log; and, when the children had finished, said, "Come now, Rico, I want you to play for me; and you and I will sing together. Do you know the song that begins,--

  "'I sing to thee with heart and voice?'"

Rico had probably heard the hymn, but he did not know it correctly, and said that he wished first to hear it from the grandmother, and he would follow her softly on his violin, and then he would be sure of it.

So they began; and first the grandmother repeated the words of a verse to the children, and then they all sang it together,--

  "I sing to thee with heart and voice,
    Lord, whom my soul obeys.
  I sing, and bid all earth rejoice:
    Thou teachest me thy praise.

  "I know that thou the fountain art
    Of joy,--the eternal spring
  Which, into every willing heart,
    Healing and good dost bring.

  "Why do we worry over sin?
    Why sorrow night and day?
  Come, bring thy load, cast it on Him
    Who fashioned thee from clay.

  "He never yet has done amiss;
    And, perfect in His sight,
  All that He does or orders is
    Sure to be finished right.

  "Now only let His will be done,
    Nor clamor constantly,
  Peace to thy heart on earth will come,
    And joy eternally."

"It is well," said the grandmother. "Now we know a proper evening hymn, and you may go quickly to rest, my children."